The Essay as Form

  • Thomas Weaver Architectural Association School of Architecture


This essay explores German sociologist Theodor Adorno’s 1958 text “The Essay as Form”, through the writings of a quintet of English
post-war architectural historians: John Summerson, Colin Rowe, Alan Colquhoun, Reyner Banham and Robin Evans. It argues that
each of these historians’ commitment to the essay form has gone largely unnoticed among any kind of appreciation of their work, and more generally that the essay, as a very particular way of communicating learned ideas in a populist way, should be resurrected as an important and accessible model for all academic writing.



ADORNO, T. (1984). The Essay as Form (B. Hullot-Kentor y F. Will, Trads.), New German Critique(32), primavera-verano, págs. 151-171 [1a ed. en Adorno, T. (1958). Noten zur Literatur I. Fráncfort del Meno: Suhrkamp].

BANHAM, R. (1960). Theory and Design in the First Machine Age. Londres: Architectural Press.

BANHAM, R. (1996). A Critic Writes. Berkeley: University of California Press.

COLQUHOUN, A. (2011). “Some Thoughts on the ‘Essay‘”. Carta no publicada.

COLQUHOUN, A. (1981). Essays in Architectural Criticism: Modern Architecture and Historical Change. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

EVANS, R. (1997). Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays. Londres: Architectural Association.

HUXLEY, A. (1959). Collected Essays. Nueva York: Harper.

ROWE, C. (1996). As I Was Saying: Recollections and Miscellaneous Essays, tres vols. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

SUMMERSON, J. (1963). Heavenly Mansions: And other essays on architecture. Nueva York: W. W. Norton.
Cómo citar
WEAVER, Thomas. The Essay as Form. Materia Arquitectura, [S.l.], n. 09, p. 86-88, ago. 2014. ISSN 0718-7033. Disponible en: <>. Fecha de acceso: 06 jul. 2020
Dossier translations